Around 5 o’clock each morning, approximately 500 cranberry colored boxes arrive at Rochester International Airport from the Federal Express hub in Memphis, Tennessee. The boxes, created by Mayo Clinic Laboratories to allow FedEx staff to identify high-priority patient specimens destined for Mayo Clinic Laboratories, originate at medical institutions around the world and contain 35,000 unique specimens to be tested or analyzed at one of more than 65 specialty labs at Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic Laboratories is the global reference laboratory for Mayo Clinic, home to the most comprehensive diagnostic pathology and clinical laboratories and most sophisticated laboratory test catalog in the world. The laboratories provide advanced testing and pathology services to support health care organizations in more than 80 countries.
At the Mayo Clinic Laboratories facility on Superior Drive in Rochester, an automated system reads barcodes on the boxes and a mechanized box cutter opens the boxes. Specimens are labeled and grouped by category in Styrofoam containers for internal routing. These containers go to preprocessing teams in the internal operations unit, which is staffed around the clock every day of the year to ensure that each patient’s specimen is processed and made available for specimen distribution staff to pick up, sort, and deliver to the appropriate laboratory on the Mayo Clinic campus. Test results are transmitted back to customers sometimes within hours, and Mayo experts stand at the ready to respond to questions.
“Mayo Clinic Laboratories is an extension of the Mayo Model of Care; we share the institution’s patient-centered mission and values,” says William Morice II, M.D., Ph.D. (IMM ’94, MDPD ’94, SGPA ’99, HEMP ’00), President of Mayo Clinic Laboratories and Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “We serve Mayo Clinic patients as well as individuals around the world who may never physically visit a Mayo Clinic campus, partnering with local laboratories to provide support for the complex testing they cannot perform themselves.”
According to Dr. Morice, Mayo Clinic Laboratories has experienced its greatest growth in the last five years. In 2013 the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors endorsed a growth strategy that involved tailoring a sales force to specific customer needs. A representative knowledgeable about Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ neurology tests, for example, visits with neurologists and explains the breadth and depth of neurology testing available. The previous approach was broader and less differentiated.
“Our reach is significant,” says Dr. Morice. “We’re a global company that serves the continuum of health care—from local and regional hospitals to major academic institutions, including all of the top 20 hospitals in the U.S. News & World Report ranking. We’re focused on expanding our global footprint to share Mayo Clinic innovation and expertise to serve far beyond the walls of Mayo campuses. We work with customers to make sure they’re sending us only the testing they can’t perform themselves due to their organization's size or complexity of practice. We help them to broaden their local test menu and improve their lab efficiency to better serve their patients close to home."
When hospital labs need help for esoteric testing and pathology services, they have access to Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ test catalog.
"We offer unmatched breadth across specialties and depth within specialties,” says Dr. Morice. “We’re one of the few labs in the country that offers breadth and depth in protein and genetic testing; biochemical genetics testing for inborn errors of metabolism; toxicology testing for drugs of therapy and abuse; genetics testing for leukemia, lymphoma, and solid tumors; second-opinion diagnoses for biopsies of any tissue or organ system; microbial testing for tick-borne and other parasitic diseases; autoimmune neurologic testing; and amyloidosis protein testing. We offer some unique-to-Mayo tests that only ever apply to a handful of rare cases or that involve proprietary technical innovations.”
Last fall Mayo Clinic Laboratories changed its name (formerly Mayo Medical Laboratories) to solidify its position as the only reference laboratory in the U.S. that is fully integrated with Mayo Clinic. “Our customers want access to Mayo Clinic laboratory medicine care, and the new name more accurately depicts that,” says Dr. Morice.